Better Ventures Backs K4Connect to Improve the Lives of Seniors

We are delighted to announce our seed investment in K4Connect, a technology integration company that makes life simpler and healthier for seniors. K4's software platform seamlessly integrates disparate smart devices into a single responsive system, which transforms senior living facilities into smart homes. This automation technology not only makes life better for seniors but also provides valuable and actionable data to caregivers to improve the quality of care. Better Ventures Fund II participated in K4's $1.9 million Series Seed round, which included Sierra Ventures, Lowe's Companies, and Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. We are excited to be working with Sierra Ventures again, which led LeadGenius' Series A round last year. 

Read More
PreSeed Launches with Fireside Chat Featuring Serial Impact Entrepreneur, Xavier Helgesen

Each month, Better Ventures convenes top leaders in impact investing and entrepreneurship for a fireside chat, networking, and workshops geared towards early-stage companies.  

For our inaugural event, we couldn't have asked for a better guest speaker. Xavier Helgesen is the founder and CEO of solar-as-a-service startup Off Grid Electric, which has raised over $23M to bring clean energy to people throughout Africa, as well as the founder of Better World Books, an online used bookstore with over $70M in annual revenue. Along with his deep commitment to making the world a better place with scalable business models, his charming personality and great stories quickly won over the crowd. 

A few key themes and highlights from the evening:

Read More
Rick MossComment
Better Ventures Approved for Investment by ImpactAssets and Joins the IA50

We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures Fund II has been approved for investment by ImpactAssets' Giving Fund, a donor advised fund with over $200 million of assets under management. ImpactAssets (IA) is a leading financial services firm dedicated to increasing the flow of capital into investments that deliver financial, social, and environmental returns. Through the Giving Fund’s Global Impact Ventures platform, clients have unique access to high-quality, vetted private equity and debt funds that are pursuing both financial returns and positive impact. Better Ventures has also been selected to join the IA50, an annual list of the leading impact investment firms across the globe. The bar is high for inclusion on both the Global Impact Ventures platform and the IA50, and we are honored to be among a short list of funds to make the cut.

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Eko Devices Secures FDA Approval for Eko Core

We are thrilled about the news that Better Ventures portfolio company Eko Devices  has secured FDA approval to launch Eko Core, a Bluetooth enabled device that connects to a conventional stethoscope and wirelessly transmits heard sounds to a smartphone app (aka "Shazam for Heartbeats"). Eko Core has the potential to dramatically improve cardiac care by enabling clinicians to view heart sound waveform, save heart sounds to a patient's electronic medical record, and securely collaborate with a cardiologist. This both improves health outcomes by better identifying heart abnormalities and saves healthcare costs by reducing the number of unnecessary visits to cardiologists. Stanford University Department of Medicine will be the first institution to deploy the Eko Core, which is now available for purchase to millions of clinicians around the US.
 

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Better Ventures Commits $1M to Oakland Startups

We’re thrilled to announce a commitment of $1 million to back pre-seed stage technology companies based in Oakland and Berkeley that are pursing social and environmental outcomes.  Through our Better Ventures PreSeed program and backed by our recently launched second fund, we will invest $100,000 in 10 pre-seed stage startups, with an emphasis on companies based in Oakland, CA and those started by UC Berkeley founders. PreSeed convenes thought leaders, networking, and resources to advance a thriving impact startup ecosystem in Oakland. Our next event is a fireside chat with serial impact entrepreneur Xavier Helgesen (founder of Off-Grid Electric and Better World Books) on September 29th at ImpactHub Oakland. 

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Announcing Our Seed Investment in BrightCurrent


We are pleased to announce our seed investment in BrightCurrent, a leading customer acquisition platform for residential solar and other clean energy solutions. The Oakland, CA-based company combines proprietary technology with a scalable fulfillment service to acquire residential customers below market rates at major retailers including Costco, Sears, Orchard Supply & Hardware, Ace and others. They originate solar sales, which are then sold to their customer base of top solar installation and finance partners such as SunRun, SunPower, and OneRoof Energy. 

Read More
Eko Devices Raises $2M Series Seed Round

We are thrilled to announce that Better Ventures Fund I portfolio company Eko Devices has raised a $2 million Series Seed round led by Founder.org. Stanford University's StartX Fund, former Health and Human Services adviser John Noonan, and the co-founders of music analytics company Shazam also participated in the round. This fresh round of capital will be used to fuel Eko’s clinical trials with the University of California San Francisco, achieve FDA clearance, and launch commercially. Eko Devices’ product (aka "Shazam for Heartbeats”) is a Bluetooth-powered attachment to an analog stethoscope that enables heart sounds to be recorded on a smartphone or tablet and analyzed in the cloud by specialists and a murmur detection algorithm. 

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
UClass Acquired by Renaissance Learning

We are excited to announce that Better Ventures Fund I company UClass has been acquired by Renaissance Learning, a K-12 assessment and learning analytics company, which has a valuation of over $1 billion. The deal was officially announced last Thursday and covered by several media outlets including TechCruch. This is a big win for the UClass team, as they'll be joining forces with a formidable edtech industry giant that is backed by Hellman & Friedman and Google Capital and whose services are used by a third of UhS schools. The combined platform will now enable teachers to assess how students are doing and then quickly match them to resources in the UClass library, where content is tagged for compliance with Common Core standards. Currently UClass is used by hundreds of thousands of teachers and students in more than 5,000 schools with over 16 million pieces of learning content.

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Announcing Our Seed Investment in UtilityAPI

We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in UtilityAPI, an enterprise software company that is accelerating the worldwide shift to renewable energy by making it easier and more cost effective to switch to solar. The company's API portal service enables solar companies to seamlessly connect to prospective customers' utility accounts and instantly download structured data that is used to better qualify leads and improve the likelihood of a sale. Accessing historic usage and billing data from utilities is a major customer acquisition pain point for solar companies, resulting in as much as a 30% loss in lead conversion.

Read More
Announcing Seed Investment in Augary

We are pleased to announce our seed investment in Augary, a company that saves lives by using computer vision and artificial intelligence to help fleets drive more safely while capturing valuable visual information about the world. The company's software uses smart phone cameras to help drivers detect common driving hazards including following distance, inadvertent lane changing, and exceeding posted speed limits. Vision-based safety is an effective way to detect risky driving behaviors and help prevent motor vehicle accidents, which cause 1.3M fatalities around the world each year.  

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Better Ventures Fund II Raises $6M in First Close

We welcome a world-class group of investors into our second fund, including Brad Feld (Foundry Group), Tina Ju (Kleiner Perkins China), Arno Harris (Recurrent Energy), John McAteer (Google), Charly and Lisa Kleissner (KL Felicitas), Jason Seats (TechStars), Libby Cook (Wild Oats), Abacus Wealth Partners, and many others. 

Read More
Wes SelkeComment
Tech for Good Startup Weekend

Hub Ventures is hosting a Technology for Good Startup Weekend from 12/7-12/9 that will bring together startup enthusiasts for 54 hours to build technology solutions for big social and environmental challenges. The top teams will be fast tracked to the finalist round for the Spring 2013 cohort of Hub Ventures and will receive valuable perks including Facebook Ads credits. If you’re a tech for good entrepreneur looking for co-founders or want to join an existing startup team, this is the event for you!

Read More
Spring 13, Week 12: Eko Devices

Hear from Connor Landgraf, founder of Eko Devices about the final weeks of the program.

Eko Devices believes in one thing: we believe in harnessing the power of computer assisted diagnosis for healthcare. We believe that smartphones that can utilize the enormous potential of big data and cloud technologies can reduce the costs of healthcare and improve the outcomes of patients. We have developed a smartphone app and hardware component that help doctors diagnose hard-to-hear heart conditions using a standard stethoscope. Our technology can allow doctors around the world from the outback in Australia to the jungles in Indonesia the ability to better diagnose these conditions.

Read More
Spring 13, Week 10: AgGrow

We’ve got just 2 weeks to go in the program! This week, hear from Zach Warder-Gabaldon from AgGrow.

The global population will reach nine billion people by 2040.  Industrial agriculture depletes soil for future use, introduces synthetic chemicals into food and water supplies, and with 30% of all greenhouse gas emissions, is the single largest contributor to climate change.

Read More
Spring 13, Week 8: Share Practice

“Experience, not knowledge, is the biggest limiting factor between good doctors and great doctors.” This week we hear from Dr. Andrew Brandeis, of Share Practice.

Good doctors make bad decisions because knowledge sources are broken. Medical reference tools are biased by business and insurance interests and most doctors don’t have time to read antiquated research papers. Doctors are also not aware of new or effective treatments because there are no easy ways for us to disseminate information. So we call, text, and email each other. This is a terrible way to share the most important information in the largest market in the world.

Read More
Spring 13, Week 6: UClass

We’re halfway through! This week, hear from Chris Yim of UClass.

At UClass, we’re connecting classrooms around the world, to create a generation of students who possess the global competencies necessary to succeed in the 21st century. Through getting feedback from teachers, and a lot of soul-searching at our first annual company retreat at Stinson Beach, we recently repositioned ourselves from a global social network, to a social assignment platform, with an emphasis on peer review. Same global community focus, but specifically uniting students through their involvement in shared assignments. Our platform reduces the time in which teachers find, assign, and give feedback to their students, while also engaging both parties in social interactions.

Read More